Cover photo for Jerry Willis's Obituary
Jerry Willis Profile Photo
1937 Jerry 2024

Jerry Willis

April 13, 1937 — April 24, 2024


On April 24, 2024, Jerry Neal Willis, age 87, departed this life surrounded by loving family and entered Eternity with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He did so in the full and present expectation of the resurrection. His death was due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on March 12, 2024.

Jerry was born on April 13, 1937, to Levi D. Willis and Minnie Dove Smith Willis in McNairy County, Tennessee. The youngest surviving child of 10 children, Jerry attended school in Mooreville, Mississippi, where he excelled in basketball.  He married Caroline Powell on April 17,1956 and they recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. Jerry served with the Mississippi National Guard and was deployed to quell the civil unrest at the University of Mississippi.

In 1956, while working in Tupelo for Sherwin Williams Paint Company, Jerry was hired to work at Willis Brothers Motor Company, which was founded by his older brothers, Victor and L.D. Willis, in 1949, in Skyline, MS.  Jerry worked happily for 68 years at Willis Brothers, where he began as an employee, then partner, and eventually the business owner. He never retired and Willis Brothers Motor Company continues as Jerry Willis Motors. Jerry was a dedicated athlete and enjoyed basketball, running, hunting, golfing, as well as water skiing with the Tupelo Ski Club.  His love of golf led him to operate the Bel-Air Golf Course and Putters’ Bottom Driving Range.

Jerry’s empathy, kindness and generosity were well known. He had a charitable heart and, over the years, helped many who were in need. His empathy also extended to the animals that found their way to the Skyline business location. From the car lot, many dogs were transferred to his home, where they became personal pets in a veritable “dog paradise”. There was a daily “biscuit run” that both Jerry and his dogs enjoyed, in which he would drive them to Comer’s Restaurant and get them all a biscuit. On the day of his motor vehicle accident, three of his dogs were with him, and while injured, all survived.  

Jerry Willis and the family automobile business was a vibrant part of the Skyline community. For many years he and his extended family lived in Skyline and enjoyed close family ties as well as lifelong friendships with people living in the community, and especially those attending the Skyline Church of Christ.  At the time of his death, Jerry was a faithful member of the Eggville Church of Christ.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Robert Willis, L.D. (Pat) Willis, Victor Willis, R.C. (Betty Sue) Willis, Smythe Willis, and Billy Joe (Evelyn) Willis.

He is survived by his wife, Caroline Willis; his son, Gregg (Kim) Willis, M.D., of Chattanooga, Tennessee; his daughter, Lynn (Roger) Sanderson, of Mooreville, Mississippi; his granddaughter, McKenna (Parker) Tipton, of Mooreville; his grandson, Tyler Willis, of Roswell, Georgia; his granddaughter, Olivia (Gage) Gregory, DPT, of Memphis, Tennessee; great-grandchildren, Grae and Riley Tipton, of Mooreville; a sister, Patricia “Wanda” Willis Rogers, of Jacksonville, Florida; a brother-in-law, Gary Thomas Powell, of Tupelo, Mississippi; and a host of nieces and nephews.

His family would also like to recognize Aaron Lozano, Gibran Millan and all past and present employees, for their dedication to the business and loving devotion to Jerry.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. until service time Friday, April 26, 2024, at Pegues, Tupelo.

Funeral services honoring Jerry’s life will be 2 p.m. Friday, April 26, 2024, at the Jefferson Street Chapel. Private graveside service will follow at Gilvo Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Gary Thomas Powell, Aaron Lozano, Gibran Millan, Daniel Fierro, Mike Steele and Jack Burnham.

Honorary Pallbearers will include David (Susie) Rogers, of Jacksonville, Florida and the entire Jerry Willis Motors family.

“O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy victory?”

I Corinthians 15:55


O Captain! My Captain!


Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PO Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101.

Expressions of sympathy and fond memories may be made at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerry Willis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, April 26, 2024

10:00am - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Pegues Funeral Directors - Tupelo

535 W jefferson St, Tupelo, MS 38804

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Pegues Funeral Directors - Tupelo

535 W jefferson St, Tupelo, MS 38804

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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